Alexa’s good, isn’t she? Amazon’s friendly magic voice-operated assistant lady. If you ask her to tell you the news headlines she does, if you ask her to tell you the time she does, and if you ask her to tell you a joke she does, quite badly. She’s like a tiny electric dad.
And, just like dads, sometimes Alexa goes a bit peculiar, laughing maniacally in the night and scaring you.
Alexa units everywhere have been laughing creepily, murderously, seemingly completely unprovoked, with the result that people are quite justifiably freaking their nuts about it. Imagine sitting alone in a house at night and suddenly hearing a giggle from the kitchen. You’d either soil yourself or get busy crafting some sort of rudimentary weapon, bursting into the kitchen clutching a broken chair leg with a biro wedged in the end of it in case you get a chance to go for the demon’s eyes.
“Alexa!” you’d say when you realised it was just your Amazon Echo Dot enjoying a bit of spontaneous digital mirth. “Alexa, you scared me, you little electric shit.”
Amazon are working on a solution/exorcism, which seems to involve changing a command - “Alexa, laugh” was what was required to get her to laugh before, and it’s possible that that combination of syllables just comes up a lot in an unplanned manner, something Amazon refer to as a ‘false positive’. Maybe everyone who’s experienced this problem was chatting about retired US football player Alexi Lalas just before it happened.
“Who was that guy in World Cup 94 with the beard and dreadlocks?”
“Ah yeah, he was good–” [THE REST OF THE SENTENCE IS DROWNED OUT BY EERIE, DISOCNCERTING LAUGHTER COMING FROM A ROOM KNOWN TO BE EMPTY]
From now on Amazon are changing it to “Alexa, can you laugh?” and encouraging people to talk about Carlos Valderrama instead.